“I am now working on a commission with the Brighton Centre for Creative Arts to create a piece to accompany Nika Neelova’s exhibition SILT in the coming months.”
Hi Toby – can you tell us a bit about your work and your influences?
“Project name Foci, plural of focus, the focusing effect of the two dishes projecting sound towards each other. Foci alters the perception of space through two minimal sculptural forms interacting sonically. It is a combination of a kinetic sound sculpture and domed structure above it that amplifies and reflects the resulting sound.
“The resonant tone of a metal bowl is activated by the circling movement of large steel ball bearings, put in motion by the user. Contact mics and a surface speaker transfer vibration from the bottom dish to the top, projecting this sound in an isolated area and creating the sense of tangible architectural space around the user. The installation seeks to exploit a disconnect between visual and aural perception of space in the creation of structural form. The piece utilises the reflective nature and sonic qualities of material, to conjure a cohesive impression of architectural space.
“Also through user participation, the role of our own agency in sonically defining architectural space is highlighted, creating personal sonic spatial experience through physical interaction. The project stands at the intersection of sound, architecture, sculpture, installation and perceptual art and its influences reflect this diverse blend of disciplines. It was inspired by various areas within sound art practice including spatial manipulation, kinetic sculpture and structural amplification. Works such as Bernhard Leitner’s Water Mirror (1997), Akio Suzuki’s Space in the Sun (1988) Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s Clinamen v.2 (2015), Nelo Akamatsu’s – Chijikinkutsu (2013-2020) and Bernhard Leitner’s Space Sources (1997) were instrumental in the conception and development of Foci. Aesthetically the project takes large influence from the Light and Space movement of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. This form of minimalism based on the west coast of America focused on perceptual experience rather than conceptual thought. Foci takes its lead from this, altering the perception of space through two minimal sculptural forms, directing focus towards the perception of the spatial qualities of the auditory experience. ”
How have you found your course and time at Brighton?
“I have loved being a part of the DMSA cohort, surrounded by exceptional levels of creativity from other students and true experts in their fields in the lecturers, I have always felt inspired and pushed to create innovative and original work. Also being here has allowed me to widen the scope of my practice, with optional units in the architecture school and interaction with the visual arts and media schools. My time at The University of Brighton has instilled me with a depth and breadth of knowledge and allowed me to establish a multifaceted sound art practice. ”
How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Digital Music and Sound Arts?
“ I actually came to the course at a transition in my own creative practice. I had completed a foundation degree in creative music production, unable to complete a BA top up. The Digital Music and Sound Arts course seemed to fit with where I found myself but offered a route into developing skills in Art practice. The scope of the course was so wide and allowed the chance to g ain a firm basis in sound art theory that isn’t matched in many places. The syllabus enabled a development in me, to experiment and incorporate a variety of other disciplines and expand what I could do creatively.”
What are your plans after graduation?
“ I will remain in Brighton as it is a beautiful, creative, exciting city. I plan on exhibiting Foci again for the general public to experience in person, potentially creating another version for the Brighton Sound Art Festival that will be coming to the city. Also I am working on a commission with the Brighton CCA to create a piece to accompany Nika Neelova’s exhibition SILT in the coming months. Filmed submission – talking about the work or experience of producing work in lockdown. Working through lockdown mainly meant having to think creatively about how to realise the concept of the project. The biggest change was to not construct any of the main elements or have them custom made, it all had to be created with commercially available items that were modified for their new purpose. A giant fire pit was suspended and a mirrored mixing bowl was used for this project in the end, sonically creating interesting variations.